New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo started the second half after a tremendous finish to retake the lead in the first half.
Garoppolo picked up where he left off and immediate drove the Patriots down to the red zone, with the help of some strong running by LeGarrette Blount, before he made arguably his first bad decision of the night. He didn’t see the linebacker in coverage and was lucky the ball skipped out of the defender’s hands. The Patriots settled for a field goal to take a two-score, 20-11 lead.
It did become apparent on this drive that Josh Kline was the weak link of the offensive line. He was responsible for multiple pressures and caused the early demise of a few running plays over the evening. The Patriots have to hope that Shaq Mason didn’t miss this game for anything serious.
The Patriots defense forced another 3-and-out (4 straight drives of 3 or fewer plays, not including the kneeldown) and quarterback Jacoby Brissett took over for the offense.
Brissett was a lot better on his opening drive when compared to his performance against the Saints, connecting on 4 of 5 passes for 50 yards, with the lone incompletion coming on a dropped pass by fullback Joey Iosefa. A holding penalty by back-up right guard Jon Halapio set the offense back and the team had to settle for a field goal and a 23-11 lead.
The Bears went 3-and-out again after two consecutive pass break-ups by Darryl Roberts, but the Patriots offensive line broke down and the Patriots gave the ball right back.
Brian Hoyer led the Bears on a nice drive to the goal line, but strong play by Jonathan Jones, Darryl Roberts, and Cre’Von LeBlanc in the red zone forced Hoyer to hold the ball as the Bears failed to convert on a 4th down attempt.
The Patriots let Brissett take some deep shots to Devin Lucien from the goal line, both of which were an inch out of bounds and thus incomplete. Lucien caught them both, for what it’s worth. The punt left the Bears on the Patriots 47 yard line.
Hoyer made one nice 23-yard completion to get into field goal range, and Darryl Roberts collected a third pass break-up. The drive stalled and the Bears knocked home a field goal for a 23-14 score.
The two sides worked on running down the clock, until Connor Shaw threw a Hail Mary to finish the game 23-22.
The Patriots put together a great effort on the day and should be happy with the results from the first and second units.